When Laqdar Ramoly arrived in Western Australia for a 12-month training program in 2019, the idea of winning the 2021 top apprentice jockey award would have seemed unlikely. 

Without the COVID-19 pandemic, the young rider would be back home in Mauritius instead of collecting the trophy for best all-round apprentice at the 2021 Western Australian Apprentice Jockey Awards today. 

A Racing and Wagering Western Australia training program with the Mauritius Turf club brought Laqdar to Perth and General Manager Racing Charlotte Mills said travel complications extended his stay. 

“Laqdar has picked up the nickname Lucky in WA. He probably didn’t feel lucky when he was homesick and cut off from his family but he has found many friends and fans here for his likeable personality, great attitude and brilliant riding skills,” Charlotte said. 

“The COVID cloud had the silver lining of giving Lucky extra time to watch and learn from Australia’s best jockeys, gain experience and improve his technique. 

“He’s made the most of chances which aren’t available in the small racing community of Mauritius and progressed with host trainer Neville Parnham to become a superb race rider. 

“Fate stepped in to keep him in WA, earn the best apprentice title and set him up for a stellar career in the saddle. He still has no set date to return home.” 

The trainee of the year title went to Jett Stanley, a Victorian who decided to start an apprenticeship on the other side of the country after meeting WA trainer Grant Williams.   

“Jett was already a proficient track rider and quickly progressed to riding in trials. He rode his first winner at Kalgoorlie on his 11th race ride and quickly followed up with a double,” Charlotte said. 

A regular on regional tracks, Holly Watson, won Most Promising Junior Rider. She began race riding on 8 October 2020 and notched up her first win at Leinster nine days later. 

When trainer Simon Miller gave her a shot at riding in Perth this year she rewarded him with a season of six metro, 12 provincial and 36 country winners. 

A highlight for Leading Country A Apprentice Jockey Madi Derrick was riding Angry Annie to five wins for her host trainer Tiarnna Robertson and Leading Country B Apprentice Jockey Jessica Gray was at her best riding on dirt tracks in WA’s north. 

The awards were presented at Bathers Beach House, Fremantle, on October 15, 2021. 

The 2021 WA Apprentice Awards were held at Bathers Beach House, on 15 October 2021.

Award Winners:

– WA Trainee of the Year: Jett Stanley
– WA Most Promising Junior Apprentice: Holly Watson
– WA Leading Country A Apprentice: Madi Derrick
– WA Leading Country B Apprentice: Jess Gray
– WA Best All Round Apprentice: Laqdar Ramoly